Chances dwindle of finding survivors of Italian cruise ship wreck   2012-01-18 11:18:03            

Rescuers work on the partially submerged Italian cruise liner Costa Concordia off the west coast of Italy at the Tuscan island of Giglio, Jan. 17, 2012. The death toll from the wreck of Italian cruise liner Costa Concordia rose to eleven on Tuesday as another five bodies were found in the vessel, according to local media reports. Twenty-four people from the ship are now still missing, and chances of them being found alive are getting fainter. (Xinhua/Wang Qingqin)

GIGLIO, Italy, Jan. 17 (Xinhua) -- The chances of finding more survivors from the dramatic wreck of the cruise ship Costa Concordia are growing slimmer days after the ship ran aground on Italy's west coast.

On Tuesday, the confirmed death toll from the accident rose to 11 as five more bodies, which were not identified but reportedly aged between 50 and 60, were found in the vessel.

According to local authorities, 23 people are now missing, though these data "are still being updated."

Those missing include Italian, German, French, Hungarian, Indian, Peruvian and U.S. nationals.

Francesco Schettino, captain of the Costa Concordia, was put under house arrest on charges of manslaughter and abandoning the ship.

In a phone conversation recorded between Schettino and a port official shortly after the wreck, the captain refused to go back to coordinate rescue operations, as repeatedly ordered by local port authority chief Gregorio De Falco.

Upon being questioned in court, Schettino denied all accusations, and his attorney said that instead, the captain's actions had "saved hundreds if not thousands of lives."

Crews of specialist divers helped with the massive rescue. They blasted holes to gain better access to the vessel, which lies on its side in shallow waters near Giglio island, a resort 25 km away from the country's west coast.

The ship, carrying over 4,200 passengers and crew members from over 60 countries, tore a 70-meter crack in its hull last Friday, after leaving for a seven-day Mediterranean cruise.

Survivors were shocked by the crew's inability to give instructions in Italian or English on how to leave the ship.

Infrared footage from a helicopter released Tuesday showed several passengers climbing down the ship with ropes in a desperate attempt to reach lifeboats.

Editor: Lu Hui
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